Very recent studies have found that gender plays a part in pain tolerance and threshold. It has long been admitted that women make up the majority of chronic pain sufferers. There are a disproportionate number of women who suffer Irritable Bowel Syndrome, migraines, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.
This observation, about pain in women, seems validated by a 2003 study in which Jeffrey Mogil, a pain researcher who studies rodents, and roger Fillingim, a psychologist and human pain researcher combined efforts to prove a sort of challenge by Mogil.
Mogil wagered that redheaded women would have a good response to the pain drug Talwin. Researchers have well known that there is a different response in the sexes to opioid or narcotic drugs. Mogil and Fillingim used genetic mapping to find a key receptor gene significant in causing the different gender responses to pain.
Red headed women and women with very fair skin have two mutant copies of this gene. This effectively renders it useless. The redheaded women experienced greater pain relief from the Talwin than any other participating group due to this negated gene in their bodies.
Studies such as this might go a long way in helping science to determine how and why the different genders respond dissimilarly to pain stimuli. Even simpler studies are being done to first conclude that there is a measurable difference in pain response between men and women.
Generally, these studies have found that when female subjects are exposed to pain stimulus, like immersing a hand in very cold water, increasing heat stimulation on the arm, and painful electrical jolts, they have less tolerance than their male counterparts.
This science of gender related to pain is an almost brand new field of study and much more work needs to be accomplished before anyone can draw any conclusions as to the difference in the nature of pain between the two genders.